Singing The Blues

Album: The Definitive Guy Mitchell (1957)
Charted: 1 1

Songfacts®:

  • There have been several songs called "Singing The Blues," but the one composed by Malcolm Endsley holds a unique record: It was the first and in half a century and more of its existence the only song in the history of the UK singles chart to knock itself off the top spot twice!

    Tommy Steele was at that time being hyped as the British Elvis; although his recording career was not quite as illustrious, he would later move into films with great success. Guy Mitchell's version topped the UK singles chart at the start of January 1957, and was replaced the following week by the Steele version. The following week the Mitchell version replaced the Steele version again. Frankie Vaughan's "The Garden Of Eden" replaced it, and then the Guy Mitchell version topped the chart for another week.
  • The British Library, the national library of Britain, holds a copy of the sheet music. Copyrighted 1954 and priced 2 shillings it was recorded by Guy Mitchell on Philips and by Tommy Steele on Decca. It was published by Frank Music Company of London and by Acuff-Rose Publishing of Nashville. The song was also published in 1956 as part of the Frank Dance Series for which it was arranged by Jimmy Lally. This latter is quite a substantial publication and was priced as follows:
    Full Orchestra 3s6d
    Small Orchestra 3s
    Piano Conductor 1s
    Extra Parts 8d >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2
  • This was written by 20-year-old American Country singer Melvin Endsley in 1954. Endsley was a childhood victim of polio who spent his life in a wheelchair. It was first aired on KWCB radio the following year and it was so well-received that Endsley took it to Nashville to try to sell it. There, he met Marty Robbins, who recorded the song on Columbia in August 1956 and it climbed the charts eventually peaking at #17 and topping the country list for 13 weeks.
    Guy Mitchell was also on Columbia and he was given the song to cover in a more poppy style. His version reached #1 in the US charts in December 1956 and stayed there for nine weeks, outselling and outplaying the Marty Robbins version.
  • The session singer Mike Sammes recalled his contribution to Tommy Steele's version in 1000 UK #1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh: "I was asked to do the whistling on this. Tommy was very keen to have a whistle through the teeth which I couldn't do but it was on Guy Mitchell's version. You need a gap in your front teeth to do that. I added a few 'boom-boom-booms' too and some clapping on the offbeat. At the end of the first chorus, there's a three-headed Mike Sammes as I'm doing it all at the same time." American orchestral leader Ray Conniff did the whistling on Guy Mitchell's version.
  • Two other versions have charted in the UK. In 1980 rock 'n' roll revivalist Dave Edmunds made at #28 with his cover and in 1994 Irish singer Daniel O'Donnell reached #23 with his version.
  • A fifth version entered the UK Top 40 in September 2009 by Cliff Richard and the Shadows. Their cover was the first single recorded by the "Peter Pan of Pop" with his old backing group since "Don't Forget to Catch Me" in 1968. It thus created a chart record for the longest gap (41 years) by an act with a new release.

Comments: 2

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn this day in 1957 {January 11th} two versions of "Singing The Blues" were at positions #1 and #2 on the United Kingdom's Official Top 30 Singles chart, at #1 was Tommy Steele's covered version, while at #2 was Guy Mitchell's covered version, which the preceding week was at #1 on the chart...
    At the time Marty Robbins' original version of "Singing The Blues" was in it's eleventh of thirteen weeks at #1 on Billboard's Country/Western Best-Sellers in Stores chart...
    And the rest of the U.K. Top 10 on January 11th, 1957:
    At #3. "Therese of the Roses" by Malcolm Vaughan
    #4. "The Green Door" by Frankie Vaughan
    #5. "Just Walkin' In The Rain" by Johnnie Ray
    #6. "True Love" by Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly
    #7. "Cindy Oh Cindy" by Eddie Fisher
    #8. "Hound Dog" by Elvis Presley
    #9. "Friendly Persuasion" by Pat Boone
    #10. "Rip It Up" by Bill Haley and his Comets...
    R.I.P. Guy Mitchell {1927 – 1999}, Marty Robbins {1925 – 1982}, and Tommy Steele celebrated his 83rd birthday last month on December 17th, 2019...
  • Steve Dotstar from Los Angeles, Ca-60
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Graduation SongsFact or Fiction

Have you got the smarts to know which of these graduation song stories are real?

Amy GrantSongwriter Interviews

The top Contemporary Christian artist of all time on song inspirations and what she learned from Johnny Carson.

John Lee HookerSongwriter Interviews

Into the vaults for Bruce Pollock's 1984 conversation with the esteemed bluesman. Hooker talks about transforming a Tony Bennett classic and why you don't have to be sad and lonely to write the blues.

How "A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss" Became Rock's Top ProverbSong Writing

How a country weeper and a blues number made "rolling stone" the most popular phrase in rock.

Al Jourgensen of MinistrySongwriter Interviews

In the name of song explanation, Al talks about scoring heroin for William Burroughs, and that's not even the most shocking story in this one.

Francis Rossi of Status QuoSongwriter Interviews

Doubt led to drive for Francis, who still isn't sure why one of Status Quo's biggest hits is so beloved.